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Can mental trauma be passed on through sperm?

"Traumatic experiences can be inherited, as major shocks alter how cells in the body work," The Daily Telegraph reports. But before you start blaming mum and dad for your problems, the research it reports on only involved mice.The study looked at how traumatic stress in the early life of male mice influenced the genetic material in their sperm.Researchers “traumatised” male mice during

Lung and pancreatic cancers may be on the rise

"Lung cancer will soon become the biggest cancer killer among women," the Mail Online reports, while ITV News reveals that pancreatic cancer "poses [a] growing threat". Both headlines are prompted by a study that has estimated future cancer trends across the EU.The researchers estimate there will be approximately 1.32 million deaths from the eight most common cancers in 2014. They predict tha

Kidney damage 'killing thousands,' study claims

“Failures in basic hospital care are resulting in more than 1,000 deaths a month from … acute kidney injury,” The Independent reports. A study commissioned by the NHS estimates that up to 40,000 people may be dying from this preventable condition. The study aimed to discover the prevalence of acute kidney injury (AKI – previously called acute kidney failure) among adult inpatients in NHS hosp

Edible flowers not proven to prevent cancer

“Eating flowers grown in British gardens could help to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, according to a new study,” The Daily Telegraph reports. However, the study the news is based on did not actually involve any humans. So while the flowers may be edible, claims they prevent cancer are unproven. The study in question measured the levels of one group of antioxidant chemicals

Cheap holidays 'increased' melanoma rates

“Skin cancer rates ‘surge since 1970s’,” reports the BBC.The news is based on a press release from Cancer Research UK after the release of new figures for the number of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. The statistics show that the number of people being diagnosed with malignant melanoma is five times higher than it was 40 years ago.The press r

'Silver surfers' may have lower depression risk

"Silver surfers are happier than techno-foges [sic]: Internet use cuts elderly depression rates by 30 per cent," the Mail Online reports after the results of a US study have suggested that regular internet use may help combat feelings of isolation and depression in older adults. In this study, 3,075 retired people were surveyed every two years between 2002 and 2008. Internet usage was assesse

Apathy unproven as early warning sign of dementia

“Elderly who lose interest in pastimes could be at risk of Alzheimer's,” reports The Daily Telegraph, with other papers reporting similar headlines.These incorrect headlines are based on the results of a study that looked for a link between symptoms of apathy and structural brain changes (on brain scans) in over 4,000 older adults who did not have dementia.The researchers were interested i

NICE highlights how hand washing can save lives

“Doctors and nurses should do more to stop hospital patients developing infections, an NHS watchdog says,” BBC News reports. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has highlighted how basic hygiene protocols, such as hand washing, may be overlooked by some health professionals, which may threaten patient safety. NICE points out that one in 16 people being treated on t

PET scans may improve brain injury diagnosis

“PET scans could predict extent of recovery from brain injury, trials show,” The Guardian reports. Evidence suggests that the advanced scanning devices may be able to detect faint signs of consciousness in people with severe brain injuries.The paper reports on a study that examined how accurate two specialised brain imaging techniques were at diagnosing the conscious state and chances of reco

Cannabis linked to brain differences in the young

“Using cannabis just once a week harms young brains,” the Daily Mail reports. The newspaper reports on an US study that took one-off brain MRI scans of a group of 20 young adult recreational cannabis users, and a comparison group of 20 non-users. They compared their brain structure, focusing on regions that are believed to be involved in addiction. They found differences between users and

Eating chocolate probably won't save your marriage

“As blood glucose levels plummet, aggression levels rise, and people take it out on those closest to them,” The Daily Telegraph reports. This news is based on an American study into blood glucoses levels and aggression.Researchers aimed to find out whether people’s blood glucose levels predicted aggressive impulses and aggressive behaviour in married couples. The thinking behind the stu

Salt cuts have 'saved lives,' says study

"Cutting back on salt does save lives," is the good news on the front page of the Daily Mail. The headline is based on a study of data obtained from the Health Survey for England, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, and the Office for National Statistics between 2003 and 2011. The researchers chose 2003 as the start date because this is when the Department of Health launched its salt redu

New hepatitis C drug treatment 'shows promise'

"A new treatment for hepatitis C 'cured' 90% of patients with the infection in 12 weeks, scientists said," BBC News reports after a new drug protocol designed to target the protein that assists the spread of the virus through the body has shown promising results. The study the BBC reports on involved 394 people with hepatitis C who had not responded to previous standard treatment, or who had

Could statins also protect against dementia?

“Heart pills taken by millions of people in Britain could dramatically reduce the risk of dementia,” the Daily Express reports. A study from Taiwan has found an association between the use of statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) and reduced dementia risk.In this large study of older adults, researchers recorded people’s first prescription of statins and looked at their later development of

No way to reliably identify low-risk prostate cancer

“Men with prostate cancer being given 'false hope',” The Daily Telegraph reports. UK researchers have examined the accuracy of different methods that have sometimes been used (mostly outside the UK) to identify “clinically insignificant” prostate cancers – those that would not be expected to affect a man during his lifetime (meaning he is likely to die of something else). There has been co

Lab-grown vaginas successfully implanted

"Doctors implant lab-grown vagina" is the headline on the BBC News website, reporting on the latest breakthrough in the increasingly exciting field of tissue engineering.In this latest study, tissue engineering was used to develop a vagina for reconstructive surgery in four teenage girls who had the rare condition Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome. In this condition, the vagina and uter

Effectiveness of Tamiflu and Relenza questioned

“Ministers blew £650 MILLION on useless anti-flu drugs,” the Daily Mail reports. The paper cites a large study, which investigated the effectiveness of the antiviral drugs Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir). These drugs, called neuraminidase inhibitors, have been stockpiled in many countries, including the UK, to prevent and treat large influenza outbreaks. The systematic review

Removing copper from body could slow cancer

"Copper can block growth of rare cancer," is the rather unclear headline in The Daily Telegraph. Researchers have found that a drug that reduces the amount of copper in the body may also be able to lessen the growth of some kinds of tumours. These tumours – such as melanoma – have a mutation in the BRAF gene. BRAF helps create a protein that's vital for a biochemical pathway necessary for cel

Home HIV testing kits now legal in UK

“Kits allowing people to test themselves for HIV at home can be bought over the counter in the UK for the first time,” BBC News recently reported.The UK government has amended the law so “do it yourself” home testing kits for HIV are now legal to be sold over-the-counter.Can go I out and buy a test?No – at least not yet. No companies have applied for a license to sell self-testing kits w

Does paying drug users boost hep B jab uptake?

"Heroin addicts are being 'bribed' with £30 in shopping vouchers for agreeing to undergo vaccinations," The Daily Telegraph reports, while the Daily Mail said addicts were to get a "£10 supermarket 'bribe' to stay clear of drugs and £30 to have a hepatitis B jab".Some of the reporting makes it sound as if drug users will soon be awash with NHS cash. In fact, there are two studies being covere

Painkiller use linked to irregular heartbeat

“Painkillers used by millions of Britons have been linked to higher risk of an irregular heartbeat that could trigger a stroke,” the Mail Online reports. This headline follows the publication of a long-term study that aimed to find out whether older adults developed atrial fibrillation. The researchers looked at whether adults who had developed the condition had used non-steroidal anti-inflam

Could a blood test be used to detect lung cancer?

"Simple blood test could soon diagnose if patient has cancer and how advanced it is," reports the Mail Online. But this is a rather premature headline given the early stage of the research that the news is based on.The blood of people with cancer contains DNA from the tumour, which may enter the blood after some of the tumour cells naturally die. However, blood also contains DNA from normal n

Incorrect claims gambling is caused by brain damage

“The gambler’s fallacy explained? Misguided belief in the big win just around the corner could be down to brain damage,” The Independent incorrectly reported.The news is based on a small experimental study that assessed performance in two gambling games in healthy people, and in people with damage to specific regions of the brain. One of the games was a slot machine game, which assessed mo

Teen boy sunbed use linked to eating disorders

“Teenage men who regularly use sunbeds are more prone to eating disorders,” the Metro reports. A study has found that teen tanners are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviour, such as using laxatives and vomiting after meals, in order to lose weight or prevent weight gain.However, it shouldn't it be inferred from these findings that using sunbeds gives you an eating disorder. What it _do

Milk may slow progression of knee osteoarthritis

"Milk could be the key to beating crippling arthritis," reports the Daily Express, while the Daily Mail adds that, "A glass of milk a day keeps arthritis at bay". Both headlines are potentially misleading. The study the papers were reporting on was about slowing the progression of osteoarthritis in the knee joints, rather than preventing it occurring in the first place.The study focused on

Review recommends plain cigarette packs

“The government has announced its support for the introduction of standardised cigarette packets, following a review,” BBC News reports. The review concludes that plain packaging would have a positive impact on public health.Who produced the review?The review was commissioned by Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health, into whether the introduction of stand

Is frequent mouthwash use linked to oral cancer?

"Experts warn using mouthwash more than twice a day can give you cancer," the Daily Mirror reports. The news comes from a European study that examined the oral health and dental hygiene of people diagnosed with cancers of the mouth, throat, vocal chords or oesophagus (collectively called "upper aerodigestive cancers"). The researchers found that people with the poorest oral health (including

Removing copper from body could slow cancer

"Copper can block growth of rare cancer," is the rather unclear headline in The Daily Telegraph. Researchers have found that a drug that reduces the amount of copper in the body may also be able to lessen the growth of some kinds of tumours. These tumours – such as melanoma – have a mutation in the BRAF gene. BRAF helps create a protein that's vital for a biochemical pathway necessary for cel

Vegetarians have 'poorer quality of life' study claims

“Vegetarians are 'less healthy and have a lower quality of life than meat-eaters’,'' The Independent reports. A study from Austria suggests there is an association between a vegetarian diet and an increased risk of certain chronic diseases.But before any meat eating readers start feeling smug, the study provides no proof that vegetarians are in poorer health than meat eaters. This was an A

Can warm-water exercise help high blood pressure?

"Working out in warm water could be a radical new cure for high blood pressure," the Mail Online reports. Results of a small study suggest that "hot aquarobics" may benefit people who had failed to respond to conventional treatment for high blood pressure.The study was a small randomised trial that included 32 people with high blood pressure that had not responded to at least three previous b

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